“What did the president know and when did he know it?” is a phrase immortalized in political scandals – first uttered when it became obvious to President Nixon’s own party that he had committed serious crimes when running for re-election. It’s easy to grow numb to the array of crimes Donald Trump committed while in office and when seeking a second term, but we shouldn’t – particularly at a time when he has to answer for them – nor should we turn a blind eye to the party that is willing to overlook his crimes – or the crimes of any future Republican presidents – provided it allows them to retain power.
We knew that the Republican-dominated Senate would let Donald Trump off the hook in 2019 for blackmailing a foreign country in exchange for dirt on his likely opponent. What we didn’t necessarily know is how much information the GOP actually did have access to and yet they went along with the process of acquittal anyway – as then-Senate Majority Leader McConnell told Mitt Romney: “If you believe that [Trump is actually investigating corruption], I’ve got a bridge I can sell you.” That’s why he emphasized (inaccurately) that impeachment is merely a political process, and did what he could to shoulder the burden of Trump onto anyone else – while staying laser focused on keeping the Senate.
In fact, senators are required to take an oath for impeachments separate from the oath they take to the Constitution, swearing that they will do impartial justice to the Constitution and its laws, as would any juror. We don’t know the whole picture of why Romney decided not to run for re-election, but we have a pretty obvious clue: the GOP doesn’t care about the Constitution and our news media really doesn’t hold them accountable. There are many reasons for why the GOP is terrible and shouldn’t be trusted with power – but this snapshot shows why we simply cannot afford another Republican president in the near future. That’s why we need to put in the work to win in 2024 and 2028.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making